Actionable Insights

Actionable Insights

Trade Promotion Effectiveness

Syndicated point of sale scanner data can tell us if we sold more product resulting from a price promotion (cents off or buy-one-get-one) or other trade promotion (advertising). Internal data tells us what our cost of the promotion was (discounts given to the retailer plus advertising costs). Did we sell enough additional product to make money? Or, if not, did we get a lasting share increase (‘lift’) so that when we raise the price or the deal ends, we sell more than before the promotion. Even if we did get a lift, is it enough to make a profit on the promotion over time?

If you have the data, we can get you these answers.

As Lora Cecere says, there is a conflict between sales and marketing. Sales is incented on volume, marketing on share, the true incentive is the bottom line to the company. The message here is “break down the silos”!

Out of Stocks

Out of stocks translates to a lost sale, or worse, a consumer switching to a competitor. Even with the excellent tools available to manage inventories today, OOS still happens. The best short term solution to OOS is available in EDI852 data. With daily 852 data, you can monitor sales by store by item. With all but the lowest velocity items, it is straightforward to spot problems. (Ironbridge can help with 852 data).

If the OOS problem persists, you need to convince the retailer’s buyer to order more product. We can help you present the evidence of OOS situations to the retailer.

Surprises can happen. There is a tool to manage surprises too: social media. Hot new products flying off the shelf generate a lot of traffic on Twitter, Instagram etc. Social situations from rock concerts to political demonstrations can cause product shortages. Monitor both your own and competitors’ user names and related hashtags. Look for spikes in Twitter volume.
Our NetLink® product can monitor Twitter feeds for you.

Trade Promotion Planning

Lora Cecere says that 50% of all trade promotions are not analyzed for effectiveness. How many times does a manufacturer repeat promotions without knowing whether they work? Ironbridge’s NetCast product performs a detailed mathematical analysis of every promotion you have made over the last 3 years. NetCast will tell you the exact dollar impact of every % of ACV a promotion runs in, every cent of price change. You can take this down to item level. NetCast will tell you that, for example, point of purchase displays are twice as effective as FSI’s. You can then decide which promotions to repeat and which to forget.

Social Media and Micro Marketing

Social media has made micro marketing easy. Consumers opt in by installing a manufacturer or retailer’s app. The database behind the app tracks their history and preferences. A marketer can target a consumer with promotions through the app or through any number of social media channels. With IBeacon type technology a retailer can reach a shopper in precise locations in the store.

Social media is a great channel for new product promotion. Get the word out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs and monitor the review sites. We can help.

Retailer Compliance

Did the retailer implement the trade deal properly? Is the roll out of a promotion or new product happening correctly? For various reasons, the pricing or the display or the ad did not get done as agreed. To monitor this you need EDI852 data daily. We can track the affected items by store by day during the roll out period. This will identify any systematic problem either at the retailer or in the supply chain.


It has been known to happen in the industry that a retailer purchases product from a manufacturer at a deep discount for sale in a particular market. The retailer then ships some of the product to another market and sells it at full price. The only way to detect this is by matching up internal shipments with syndicated consumption data. Ironbridge can help manufacturers gather and harmonize the required data sets to identify if this situation is occurring.

Demand Forecasting

Accurate demand forecasts are the most important part of the entire supply chain. The demand forecast is where the entire manufacturing and logistics processes start.

Demand forecasting is as much of an art as it is a science.

Knowing the trade plan is critical. Manufacturing needs to know the forecast demand levels months ahead of time. While a normal, baseline volume is predictable and easy to produce when you know the constant rate of inflow and outflow, it is also highly unlikely to happen. A baseline volume only factors in predictable elements such as sales and production levels from previous years. However, there are far more variables than pure statistical numbers from past years; there are a large amount of outside influences that can’t be predicted with total accuracy.

There has been a long time debate of which forecasting method is best. Is forecasting purely a mathematical process? Or does the human factor work better? While you can’t build an accurate forecast without statistical models, you also can’t exclude extraneous variables such as competitor sales, weather, human factors, social media and how the news can affect product sales. (A retailer that suddenly dons a bad reputation will cause an unforeseen reduction in sales.) Twitter trends can suddenly shift and start a good or bad conversation surrounding your products or a competitor’s products. Social media trends are unpredictable and can cause a surge or reduction in demand.

Efficient Assortment

This is one of the key components of Category Management. Here is an example: your sales rep is trying to sell a retail buyer on the idea of buying more of a particular product. The sales rep analyses the consumption data and shows the buyer that in the market as a whole, this product is selling well and other retailers are carrying more of it. Also, you must convince the retailer that a competitor’s product is not selling well and that ours will sell better and be more profitable for the retailer. This gets down to the level of the packaging, not just the product itself.

Social Media Tracking

Manufacturers and retailers update and monitor their social media sites constantly. Social media is a great way to discover new product opportunities and solve problems like shortages or spoilage quickly. Monitoring the public feeds like Twitter can identify competitive activity. Ironbridge can help.

Learn more about what Ironbridge Software can do for your business.